Papers from last year's cancelled exams 'are being sold online for £1'

Papers from last year's cancelled exams 'are being sold online for £1'

May 13, 2021

GCSE and A-level papers from last summer’s cancelled exams that will be used by schools to predict grades ‘are being sold online for £1’

  • Schools in England likely to use 2020 papers to determine grades this summer 
  • Students have been using social media to sell and share access to the exams 
  • Candidates can access them for £1 each with others offering swaps and freebies 

GCSE and A-level papers from last summer’s cancelled exams are being sold online for £1 each, it has emerged today.

Schools in England are likely to turn to the 2020 papers, which were not sat by students, to help them determine grades for this year’s candidates.

Teachers will use mock exams and coursework to decide how highly a student should score in their GCSEs and A-levels following Boris Johnson’s decision to axe examinations for a second year.

But leaked copies of the papers have now emerged on social media, with accounts offering to sell question and answer sheets for as little as £1.

One TikTok user has shared short clips scrolling through GCSE papers from the AQA and Edexcel exam boards – both of whom have not publicly released papers from 2020.

In another post, they open a ‘megalink’ full of past papers for 12 subjects.

GCSE and A-level papers from last summer’s cancelled exams are being sold online for £1 each, it has emerged today. Pictured: A post offering the papers for £1


One account asked users to ‘trade’ papers while another shared a ‘megalink’ for sale for £12

The user says in the comments it is ‘£12 for the link’, while others have posted the November papers freely for people to view.

A separate account took a different approach, asking fellow TikTok users to trade papers with them. 

In a video, they said: ‘Anyone wanting Paper 2 Physics, Chemistry and Biology (GCSE AQA 2020)!!

‘Trade any below! History (Edexcel); English lit and lang (AQA); Spanish (AQA)’. 

Similar posts can be found sharing A-Level papers, with one user writing simply: ‘A-Level and AS 2020 and 2019 biology, chemistry and maths papers. 

‘DM my Instagram for prices. Enjoy lads.’

Several exam boards had delayed the publication of their 2019 papers to allow teachers more options when grading pupils in early 2021.

The AQA website says: ‘Teachers can now access our June 2019 papers on e-AQA secure key materials (SKM).

One TikTok user has shared short clips scrolling through GCSE papers from the AQA and Edexcel exam boards


There are concerns that marks given by teachers could be undermined by pupils sharing the 2020 papers ahead of their mocks. Pictured: Papers posted online

‘They will be available for longer, so that there is access to unseen mocks later in 2020 and early 2021.

‘The 2019 papers will also be published on our main website in July 2021.’

However, there are concerns that marks given by teachers could be undermined by pupils sharing the 2020 papers ahead of their mocks.

One mother told the Guardian: ‘The exam boards have assured the schools that the papers are ‘secure’ and are not in general circulation and are therefore safe to be used as exam papers.

‘Last night I received an email from my son’s school to say that they had become aware that he had been able to get prior access to the AQA biology paper 2 that he sat yesterday morning and as a result they were going to make him sit an entirely new exam on his own next week.’

Teachers will use mock exams and coursework to decide how highly a student should score in their GCSEs and A-levels

She added that results will be ‘unreliable’ if they are based on leaked exam papers.  

The Joint Council for Qualifications, which represents UK exam boards, said: ‘We would strongly encourage students to use only publicly available materials via our websites, in addition to those provided by their exam centre.’ 

The JCQ added the sale or exchange of assessment materials is ‘unacceptable.’

Geoff Barton, the general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, also discouraged pupils from ‘buying or selling papers on the internet.’

He said: ‘Everybody will be trying to do their best to assess their students as fairly as possible, and there is no one-size-fits-all approach.’

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